City Council’s proposed cuts


On Monday evening I attended a public meeting in Longbridge about the City Council’s proposed budget for next year. There was a lot of anger at the meeting about the cuts the Conservative-led Council are proposing.

I guess it’s not surprising that some of the brunt of that anger was born by the people who the Council have commissioned to run the consultation meetings. But we shouldn’t really shoot the messenger.

It’s the Conservatives and Lib Dems running the Council that are making these decisions and they should answer for them. Unfortunately, none of them turned up at Monday’s meeting to do so.

But that doesn’t mean the questions are going to go away. The fact is that there are big holes in the logic of the Council’s budget proposals.

For example, in their work to protect vulnerable children, they say they want to move towards more children being placed with foster parents rather than taken into care. But in the next breath they say they are looking to trim what they spend on supporting adoption and fostering.

In other parts of their document they say they want to make greater use of the voluntary sector. But we know that, in practice, voluntary organisations are being squeezed by the Council.

And there are real concerns that respite care in places like Charles House could be under threat, and that Birmingham could cut the funding for the Supporting People programme – which helps vulnerable adults to lead more independent lives – by an even greater amount than the Conservative-led government is demanding.

You can find more details about the Council’s consultation online here.

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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